Tag Archives: agents

Hip hip hooray!

My hip operation went ahead In January but it hasn’t stopped me from getting out and about .

With this trusty customised NHS stick and my new cross body book bag – a delightful Christmas present-  I’ve been able to take a short walk for a pub lunch or a coffee.  More calories going in than out with that arrangement that little voice in my head nags. I know! I had better be careful or I’ll pile a few more winter pounds on and stress my new hip. 

My RAS – reticular activating system- has come into play because I’ve been seeing and empathising with fellow stick users at every turn.

I think the RAS part of our brain is astounding. My simple understanding is that it takes whatever we focus on and creates a filter for it. It then sifts through all the data it receives and presents only the pieces that are important to us at any time.

A walking aid is vital for me right now and I’m seeing all those who are similar to me and how they manage. All of this filtering happens without me noticing, of course. My RAS programs itself without me actively doing anything

When you’re pregnant, you notice other baby bumps and babies in buggies. When you want a new car,  you notice how many of a certain  model are on the road.  When was the last  time you noticed that your reticular  activating system had come into play and started pointing something out to you?

I’m sure it can help or hinder your New Year  resolutions too because it filters the world to reflect your  beliefs. If you think you are going to write rubbish, you probably will. If you believe you’re working well then you most likely will have a successful day. Your  RAS helps you to see what you want to see and in doing so, influences your actions.

It has been suggested that you can train your RAS by taking your subconscious thoughts and marrying them to your conscious thoughts and “setting your intent.” If you focus hard on your goals, your RAS will alert you to the people and opportunities that help you achieve them. This certainly takes the mystery out of ‘the law of attraction’ idea. Focus on important things and they will come to you because the RAS on your own brain seeks them out.

The brain is amazing but so is the rest of the body’s ability to heal.     Four hours after my hip op, I was walking with sticks and next day I was tested on walking up and down stairs before going home . My leg was working with a whole new ball and socket in it and it wasn’t too painful at all .

The most fascinating healing is the skin’s ability to heal itself and my scar improves every day. So….here I am in week three enjoying a writer’s and reader’s meet up in a pub in town . I’m glad I joined North East Authors and Readers.

I am excited about my current novel and, at the same time, worried that someone else  will think of my wonderful idea.  It’s both pleasure and angst being a writer and that’s why it’s so nice when a group of us meet up and understand all the fun but all of the insecurities too.

I have to say I’m grateful to our wonderful NHS and its staff and I hope it’s something we never lose. I’m blessed to be pain free and I feel for all those who haven’t got a solution to their pain.

I’m excited to be preparing for our trip to warmer climes where I will work on my novel, recuperate and discard those sticks. Next month’s  blog will come from Mazzaron in Murcia

One for Sorrow Two for Joy

A promising actress is hidden under a hoard of memories and a journalist is drowning her talents in wine. What went wrong and who else will suffer before the Douglas sisters reach out to each other and find the courage to go after their dreams?

‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’  could take place anywhere. Do you think that the place where a story is set is important? I certainly do and that is why I try to make my settings as real to my readers as they are to me.

I picture a setting for my novels and recreate that picture with words. ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’, my second novel, starts at Magpie’s Rest.

imageThis house, situated on the outskirts of Dunleith, is the  family home of the Douglases. Erin Douglas, a promising actress, has buried herself inside Magpie’s Nest ever since the death of her mother but things are about to change. It’s not just Erin who must face the past  and try to make a new start. Heather, her sister,  is struggling with her career, her family and the wine bottle. Their brother Fraser doesn’t seem to understand their reluctance to sell the family home.

Magpie’s Rest is one of three cottages created from unwanted farm outbuildings  and it is not ‘chocolate box’ pretty because it is made of several different types of brick and was converted on a budget of recycled wood and  tiles. It has character and stands out from the other cottages because of a rather splendid Magpie weathervane sitting on the roof.  Liz Douglas had it especially made by Tommy the Blacksmith when she moved into the cottage.

imageFraser points out that the quiet village of  Dunleith is no place for Erin,an up and coming actress,  or Heather, a city journalist, and the house should be sold  but it is filled with family memories. A lone magpie is  roosting around the house. Will a second one join him to bring back joy? Will the house be sold or will the Douglas family retain their links with Dunleith?

Whych  Elm Hall features in the novel too. I me tioned  Whych Elm and its  fabulous restaurant in an earlier post. The  hall is being refurbished by Jackson McGee and  Erin becomes involved with the project . Will she become involved with Jackson?

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The setting of ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ is  not all about Dunleith    village; the  book’s setting covers  a larger canvas. Heather lives in Jesmond, a suburb of Newcastle, with Mark and their children and this features in the novel as does London’s theatre district where Erin needs to return.

I have finished ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ and I’m exploring publishing options. Before I write book three, I’d love to know this. How important is setting to you when you’re reading a novel?

How do debut authors get published?

image‘Sometimes, on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.’ Unknown

My  2016 new year plans for publishing ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ have changed. It’s  usual for me to let my resolutions slow to a crawl or fall by the wayside (What dry January? Who said diet?). I’ve surprised myself by increasing the challenge and moving forward on this year’s resolution much more quickly than I intended.

Those of you who read January’s blog may recall that I was going to send submissions to agents  for several months and wait to see if someone would represent me before turning, as my last resort,  to self publishing. A good plan, I thought.

Sending off three or four  submissions per month was taking up a day or two of writing time and then there was the waiting  for an answer, or no answer to deal with. It took up more thinking space than I thought it would and each month it was hard to settle into writing book two.

In January, submitting was a new task. In February it was a chore that had to be done if I wanted to be published. By March, the rejections started coming in; I received three very thoughtful rejection emails. ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’  wasn’t for these agents but they wished me luck.

I had been prepared for rejection but the ‘not hearing’ from agents is hard even though I know they’re really busy people. So, with my March  submissions being even more of a grind, I decided to give the submissions a rest for a month or so and just get on with book two. I didn’t want to call a halt to getting my book out there but I had submitted to eight agents and,  if they didn’t want it, who would?

I enjoyed becoming immersed in writing my new novel but, without looking for the topic, I kept reading  about self publishing in news articles, on twitter and on Facebook.

This has happened to me before and I recognise that  it’s a sign that I want to do something even though the rational part of my brain is not so sure.  It’s a bit like seeing pregnant women everywhere when you’re feeling broody. My understanding of this is that it is the reticular activating system filtering and focussing on the thing your subconscious knows you want. ( A Lou Tice course during a previous career taught me this and showed how it could be used to come up with solutions to your goals.)

A couple of my own previous examples are – I kept seeing people with terrier pups when I was in a position to have a dog at last and it had been a long awaited goal. I kept reading about authors who were in the RNA new writers’ scheme when I felt like I wanted writing support but wasn’t sure where to find it. Once I had my pup and once I was on the RNA new writers’ scheme, those pups and writers were still about but they didn’t register in my RAS with as noisy a ‘ding’  every day because I had achieved those things.

I decided that, if my RAS was flagging up self publishing and I was less enthusiastic about sending  submissions, I had the answer  to rethinking  my plan.

It was an article by Rachel Abbott- don’t you  love her thrillers?-  about her route to self publishing that first got me thinking. Rachel’s novels are best sellers but she couldn’t find an agent. Her success has been phenomenal and she got her agent. Lizzy Kremer represents Rachel now but she still self publishes .

A Facebook friend sang the praises of Matador, part of Troubadour publishing, who supported her self publishing journey. Accent press advertised their new venture in the self publishing market. Well established publishers are collaborating with authors who want to self publish. Why not give it a try?

I had to discuss financing this plan with the other  half  of the team and, straight away,  he said, ‘Yes, do it.’  Readers, if you’re out there, (I had already married him) I did it. Gulp, big decision made.

I sent my novel to the two reputable publishers that I’d heard of and both gave me a good choice of levels of publishing and marketing. I decided to go with Octavo ( part of Accent press) who were offering a discount to RNA members and, now the decision is made, I’m delighted to be starting on this exhilarating journey.

My book, ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, will definitely be available worldwide as an ebook and as a paperback this year. How exciting is that?

Was my decision too hasty or would you have done the same as me?  Has your RAS ever gone into overdrive about a goal? I’d love to hear your views.

 

 

 

 

Life is what happens…

‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’

I first heard this in John Lennon’s song, ‘Beautiful Boy’ and John’s fate is my reminder to appreciate each day as it comes whether your plans work out or not. 

We do thrive on plans that take us forward though, and I’m happy that my writing plans for 2016 are forging ahead.

I’ve completed my final draft of  ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ and , each month, I’m sending it off to two agents and a publisher. I figured that this means I’ll always have one of two people considering my work and won’t have all my rejections back at once.

Talking of rejections, I’ve just had my first. It was a nicely worded rejection and I’ve been told so often that I’ll get lots on my journey to publication that it was a sort of right of passage. Opened it, read it, over it.

As well as looking for representation, I’m looking into self-publishing. My plan is to be published one way or another and, while  I would be delighted to be taken on by an agent who loves my work, I’m prepared to go it alone.

I’ve sent ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ out into the world to be read by my nearest and dearest. That, I feel,  is harder than giving it to strangers. ”Love It!” ‘Hated Neil” “perfect summer holiday read” ‘Ha! I can’t believe ….(spoiler)” ” I loved that man” It is lovely to hear that people couldn’t wait to find out what happened to my characters. I even got “Is there a sequel? I want to know more about….”

I’ve loved writing for the past couple of years but now I’m learning how satisfying it is for my novel to  have readers. I know I’m going to have great fun when I’m taking it out into a wider field and promoting it. 

While the first born is getting out there, novel 2 has not got a title. There are several that I like but I don’t want to pin it down yet.

With number 2, it’s easier to make writing time, to allow the characters to develop as they come to life on the page IMG_1592and to allow the odd new twist to appear in the story. There’s a welsh terrier who wants to make an appearance. He’s a lovely character like my welshie , Oscar,  but older and wiser. I’m enjoying drafting this story because I’m getting rid of the ‘this is rubbish’ voice that used to crop up when I first started writing. If it whispers that it’s rubbish, I say that I can always go back and change it. I’ve written right up to THE END once so I can do it again because I’m a writer.